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Kevin Durant's fond memories of journey from D.C. to NBA

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Kevin Durant's fond memories of journey from D.C. to NBA

The media horde to greet Kevin Durant, after a morning shootaround at Verizon Center on Tuesday morning before his Oklahoma City Thunder play the Wizards, is the size of an NBA playoff game. And like a pro, he handled every predictable question about himself, his future and his comments about "disrespectful" D.C. fans who cheer for their hometown superstar although he plays for the opponent.

"It's a great feeling knowing that I walked these streets and grew up here and I can inspire so many kids that have the same dreams that I have. It means a lot coming back playing here because I remember coming as a kid catching the train down here to watch the Wizards, Mystics and Georgetown play all the time," said Durant, the second-leading scorer in the league at 30.1 points who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. "To be able to walk on the court as an NBA player it shows the journey I've been on. Hopefully, more kids behind me can do the same thing."

The Wizards are in hot pursuit, though they can't make contact with a player under contract with another team. They'll have more than enough cap space for Durant and to retain Bradley Beal, who will be a restricted free agent, and will have enough money left over to fill in the gaps around them. More than half the roster is on an expiring deal or the team hold's their final-year option which gives the Wizards flexibility.

"I just try to go about every day and just focus on that day. Try not to think about the future too much," said Durant, who missed 55 games last season with a broken foot. "Worry bout that stuff when I get there. Basically I've been saying I don't know for a long, long time. I'm just focused on our team. I'm happy I'm playing again."

Durant, when asked Monday after practice about the cheers he receives when he plays here, said that it makes him uncomfortable and it feels "disrespectful" to the Wizards. 

He didn't back off those words but seemed more understanding as he went into more detail.

"I'm not saying anything is wrong with the fans. I'm just looking at it as a player on this side. I wouldn't like it," Durant said. "Fans are going to do what they're going to do. I appreciate all the support that's getting thrown our way. I'm just looking at it as an opposing player. If I was on that team and they came in here and did that I wouldn't like it but hey, fans support us throughout the whole league. They make the league what it is. It's nothing against them. I'm just talking about it as (an opposing) player."

If this game unfolds anything like last season, when Russell Westbrook hit the game-winning shot with one second left in overtime, Durant knows what will happen if it's a Wizards player instead.

"If it's a tight game and they make a big shot, they're going to cheer for their own team," he said. "I know what it is. I'm just trying to focus on our group and help our team win."

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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